Should I consider a joint custody arrangement during my Florida custody case?
Your children are the most important thing in your life. As such, when entering into any arrangement regarding their care and splitting of their time, it can be confusing and emotional. The two types of custody arrangements in Florida are sole custody and joint custody. Both options have pros and cons and your Orlando Child Custody Attorney will be able to discuss with you the needs of your child and the custody arrangement that will best fit your family unit.
One custody arrangement that many couples come to is joint custody, also known as shared parental responsibility. Shared parental responsibility is defined as “a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly.” (61.046(17)). This type of parenting plan allows both parents to have an active role in the child’s life and provide both parents with the responsibility for the care of the child. Florida courts have a presumption towards such an arrangement as they want the parents to both retain full physical and financial responsibility for the child. Statute provides that “the court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.” Determinant of the child is considered by the court in a parent’s criminal history, such as misdemeanors, felonies or domestic violence charges. If such concerning factors exist, the court will award sole custody. If you feel as though, a shared custody arrangement would be detrimental to your child, discuss the possibility of sole parental responsibility with your Orlando Child Custody Attorney.
When awarded joint custody you and your partner will need to continue a healthy co parenting relationship as you will both have equal decision-making authority. However, in a joint custody determination, if parents are unable to agree on certain areas, the court may also award certain responsibility to one parent in regards to education, health care, or religion. Overall, both parents will have equal access to the child and all information pertaining to them. This includes school and medical records. You are required to keep your spouse informed of the child’s wellbeing and promote a healthy relationship between your former spouse and the child. If you and your former partner are having difficulty navigating the coparenting relationship, discuss with your Orlando Child Custody Attorney the possibility of employing the services of a Parenting Coordinator.
Courts have routinely held, a continued relationship with both parents is, in most cases, in the best interest of the child. Therefore, it is important to know your exact joint custody arrangement with your partner and discuss each aspect with your Orlando Child Custody Attorney. Your Orlando Child Custody Attorney can help you to achieve a plan that will work to maintain familial relationships in the face of the joint custody arrangement.
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